South African bonds were weaker shortly before midday on Friday, as the market waited for US inflation data, and eyed growing tension between the US and North Korea.

The rand, which bonds usually track, was at about the R13.50 to the dollar level, as investors pared back risk positions amid growing geopolitical tension.

Moody’s will be releasing its review of SA’s sovereign rating after local markets close, while the US is expected to release inflation data for July at 2.30pm local time.

The afternoon session would focus on US inflation numbers abroad, as these will feed into the policy rate outlook and, in turn, the outlook for global bonds, said Sasfin Securities fixed-income trade head Alvin Chawasema.

Intensifying tension between the US and North Korea also played on market sentiment.

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump doubled down on his rhetoric after threatening to bring "fire and fury" against North Korea if it did not drop threats against the US. Trump said earlier that his commentary "wasn’t tough enough", and North Korea had "better get their act together or they are going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble", reported Dow Jones Newswires.

At 11.30am the R186 government bond was bid at 8.645% from Thursday’s 8.59% and the R207 at 7.42% from 7.36%.

The rand was at R13.4981 to the dollar from R13.4607.

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